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Wink by Sierra Glassman, 13 (Watsonville, CA)

Published in Stone Soup October 2019

A note from Emma Wood

What are some moments of high emotion in your life?

This is a question that Naomi Kinsman, of Society of Inklings, asks in one of her videos from the SYI series, which will guide you through the process of writing your very own personal narrative for our fall contest. It is the perfect question to begin your reflection and brainstorming process. A personal narrative is often most powerful when it explores these moments of high emotion. And, as Naomi notes, these moments can be about any emotion—whether that’s fear, embarrassment, happiness, sadness, gratefulness, excitement, anticipation, nostalgia, love, anger, or anything else you have experienced! SYI’s videos are a truly excellent resource, and we hope you will continue to follow along with Naomi as you craft your own personal narrative.

I have decided to highlight Daniel Shaw’s personal narrative, “The Tree Outside My Window,” in this newsletter. Although we published his piece in Stone Soup as a story, he told us in his cover letter that it was, in fact, a true story—in other words, a personal narrative rather than a piece of fiction. I love this piece because of its surprising approach to a common narrative:

Daniel has recently moved to a new apartment. However, instead of telling us the story of this move in a straightforward way, he focuses on the new tree outside of his window. Seeing it “gently swaying in the wind” prompts him to remember another tree, the outside of the window in his old room. What follows is a beautiful series of memories involving that other tree. By the end of his narrative, Daniel has accepted the new tree and also found a way to remember the old tree.

I encourage you to read his narrative closely as you begin to think about your own. What makes Daniel’s work so powerful and moving is not only its unusual approach but the detail of his descriptions and the specificity of each moment he describes.

Remember to submit your personal narratives by Dec. 15; we can’t wait to read them!

Our Fall Fundraiser, 2019: The Refugee Project

We are raising funds to support the production and publication of creative work by children in refugee camps around the world. We have already almost reached our target of $5,000 to support workshops run by and for kids in camps, a special issue of Stone Soup, and associated projects—and we want to keep going! You have already helped us fund workshops in the Za’atari camp and put us in touch with other great organizations we can work with to expand our efforts.

Please help us raise the money to continue this work. You can read more about this initiative on our website and help us by sharing the link with others. Thank you.

Highlights from the past week online

Don't miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at Stonesoup.com!

Sci-Fi: Science or Fiction?” is the latest from Marco’s blog series. Learn about the distinction between “hard” and “soft” science fiction. Do you have a preference for one over the other? Leave a comment to let us know!

Abigail writes about the pit bull dog breed on the blog this week. Read the post to find out more about the “hasty and harsh generalization about pitbulls” that are often circulated in the media. “Pitbulls: Monsters or Misunderstood?” takes into account many aspects of the debate.

Daniel Shawn author of The Tree Outside My Window

From Stone Soup, October 2019

The Tree Outside My Window

By Daniel Shaw, 11 (New York, NY)

As I stood in my new room, as decided at Burger Heaven on Tuesday, I looked around and saw a blank white wall, two closets, and two windows. I looked out the window on the left and saw a beautiful tree outside my window. It was gently swaying in the wind.

I remembered the other tree outside my window in my old room. You could see the roughness of the bark, and the leaves slowly turned yellow, orange, and red as we got closer and closer to the end of the fall. The tree was wise and old. It had a posture that was relaxed but knew everything at all times, like Yoda!

One day, I asked my dad if I could go play laser tag with my friend Michael.

“You know why you can’t,” he said. Unfortunately, I did. My dad was against all types of guns or weapons. I understood why, but I was still frustrated.

“But all of my friends are going and I don’t want to be left out because everyone will be talking about it at school,” I told him.

He said: “Just because your friends do it doesn’t mean you have to.” I stormed into my room. Then I looked out the window, and I thought about the tree. It couldn’t do anything people did. And people didn’t respect it. They even had their dogs pee on it. But it was content to just watch the world go by.../MORE

Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
in the United States of America, EIN: 23-7317498.

Stone Soup's Advisors: Abby Austin, Mike Axelrod, Annabelle Baird, Jem Burch, Evelyn Chen, Juliet Fraser, Zoe Hall, Montanna Harling, Alicia & Joe Havilland, Lara Katz, Rebecca Kilroy, Christine Leishman, Julie Minnis, Jessica Opolko, Tara Prakash, Denise Prata, Logan Roberts, Emily Tarco, Rebecca Ramos Velasquez, Susan Wilky.

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